Officials: US announcement on Golan Heights recognition could come next week

Sources in Jerusalem & Washington predict decision could be made during Netanyahu’s visit to Washington, two weeks before the Israeli elections

Israeli and US officials said Thursday they expect an announcement on US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights could come as early as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington next week.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the information had not yet been made public.

At a meeting Wednesday with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Jerusalem, Netanyahu accused Iran of attempting to set up a terrorist network to target Israel from the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in 1967. He used the incident to repeat his goal of international recognition for Israel’s claim on the area.

“I think, for this reason, and many more, it is time that the international community recognizes Israel’s stay on the Golan, and the fact that the Golan will always remain part of the State of Israel,” he said.

Pompeo did not mention the issue, but the administration is considering recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan. Last week, in its annual human rights report, the State Department dropped the phrase “Israeli-occupied” from the Golan Heights section, instead calling it “Israeli-controlled.”

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